Firefighters go back to basics for forced entry training Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Story and photo by Robert Johnson
Managing editor

The Fort Leonard Wood firefighters went back to the basics at Fire Station No. 1 during training sessions Nov. 4 to 7.

Firefighters from the fort, as well as members from Marshfield, St. Robert and Tri-County fire departments, went through a two-day session on the basics of forced entry — a skill every firefighter has to know — said Buddy Glover, Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department assistant fire chief.  
Fort Leonard Wood firefighters learn the basics of using a cutting torch during a forced entry class Nov. 7 at Fire Station No. 1.

“We have 25 firefighters and personnel from the CBRN school and Terry Facility going through the training,” Glover said. “The focus is to teach firefighters how to break down doors in the event they have to do a forced entry into a building.”

Brotherhood Instructors, a firefighting instructional company based in Kansas City, Mo., provided the training.

“This instruction trains firefighters on very basic skills,” said Chris Collier, one of the five instructors from Brotherhood Instructors. “There is a lot of mandated training that firefighters have to test on each year, such as HAZMAT, asbestos awareness and medical classes. Some training can get pushed aside because there is no requirement to retrain on the subject and forcible entry is one of those non-mandated subjects.”

The cost to bring the training team to Fort Leonard Wood was funded by the Missouri Division of Fire Safety, Glover said.

“The state handles all aspects of bringing the team in to train. They pay for it, handle the administrative parts and conduct the quality control. There is no cost to the fort for this,” Glover said.

The training was broken into two-day segments spread over a four-day period so that all shifts could participate. Day one is for covering the basics of entry and day two gives the students advanced information, Glover said.

“We started with simple doors and knocking them open, but we later worked on steel reinforced doors, doors in stairwells, use of cutting torches, removing locks and using the rescue saw while on a ladder,” Glover said.

Firefighter Dana Potter, a 32-year veteran of fire departments, said that he learned new and easier ways to breach locks, but it was always good to refresh on basic firefighting skills.

“They really showed us how quickly we could pop the locks if we had to and it caused a lot less damage to the door than using the Halligan tool,” Potter said.

Another area the firefighter practiced was cutting vertical steel bars while on a ladder using a rescue cut off saw.

“Every firefighter knows how to cut a bar of steel with the rescue saw, but it’s normally across a brace and you are cutting down on it. It’s really different when you are on a ladder trying to handle the saw cutting horizontal. It’s quite stressful, so it’s nice that the first time you have to do it isn’t at a fire,” Collier said.

“Forced entry for a firefighter can be very dangerous, so it’s always better to learn the skill without the stress of a fire,” Collier said.

“It was excellent hands-on training,” Potter said. “This training is the best way to learn.”






Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 November 2013 )